Dead Space and all characters and miscellaneous are property of Visceral Studios and Electronic Arts—I own nothing! The following story is pure fiction using several characters, both copyrighted by EA and original of my own thought in a story, that too, is original, enjoy. (This is my second Dead Space fanfic, just some twist of an idea I had.)

DEAD SPACE: ON BOARD

Chapter 1: The Down-Spiraling

In the 26th century of mankind natural resources on earth were running on empty. Through the advancements of things like Shockpoint (light speed travel) and Planetcracking (a means of outer space mining on unimaginable scales for collected resources used to be distributed both on earth and throughout the other human inhabited areas) journeys were taken to far ends of the known universe in the effort of keeping the human race alive.

A video feed from Isaac Clarke's engineering outfit displayed a young looking woman, light hair and gentle expression.

"One hour, right?" she asked the man.

He gave a tender smirk, rolling his eyes. "Yes, Mess Hall, one hour. I got it, Nicole."

Nicole snickered as a man behind Isaac commented on him being whipped whereas in response he threw a used oil jug at the man's waist. She withdrew her smile concealing hand from her mouth.

"All right, I'm off. I love you, Isaac."

A group of fellow employees had gathered as an audience to make an 'Awww' sound. Clarke raked agitated fingers through his short cut hair.

"Will he say it?" asked one of them. Another piped up as well. "Come on, Clarke, say it back!"

On the holo-display Nicole's eyes and smug grin were thanking the prodding crowd.

Isaac never took the curled hand from his mouth to reply. "I love you too."

The gathered mob made an uproar upon hearing this. Isaac Clarke's close friend Denny Welker wrapped an arm over his shoulders.

"Way to go, buddy. He's lucky to have you, girl!" Denny finished the sentence with a childish wink.

Isaac rushed off the line. "One hour, I'll be there." The feed went out. He turned to face his onlookers, anticipation wetting their facial expressions. The man shook his head. "You guys are dicks."

They laughed and chided scattering back to their posts as they did so. Now it was just Welker and Isaac. The man was known as a jester, an ever present smile strapped to his face. He picked up his gear.

"One hour, eh? That means we got fifty minutes to get this job done. We don't want our stud being late for his hot date now, do we?" His gut was met with an inoperable welding torch knocking the winds clean out from him.

"Funny," Isaac proclaimed with sarcasm. He left the man behind to catch his breath finding his way through the RIG antechamber to a fairly simple machine that aided in the putting on of a person's suit. Engineer's suits, like miner's suits, were hefty and constricting making getting them on an endeavor in their own right.

"Say what you will," said Isaac, "but it's been practically a week since we've been able to even see each other. Even though we're serving on the same ship it's like we're in totally different cities."

Welker boarded a suit outfitting mechanism next to Isaac. "Boo Hoo… you knew it wouldn't be all fun and games."

The two of them grunted while the machines strapped the tight fitting suits over them. Isaac was done first.

"Hey, what's the job detail again?" he asked, turning back to Denny.

Welker stepped from the machine before saying a word. "I hate your memory."

"What's that supposed to mean—" Welker cut the man off.

"You can remember Nicky's favorite color, food, and birthday, but you can't recall a job that was asked of us no more than an hour ago." Isaac shrugged playing dumb making Welker surrender. "The poor saps in Mineral Processing had some rubble from Aegis dislodge while trying to smelt it and it's nothing but a huge obstacle now. They want us to remove the rocks and repair any sustained damages."

A smile took over Isaac's lips. "So we're the cleanup crew, eh?"

Denny gave a swift nod. "And that, my friend, is what makes us the Dream Team—course, to be honest, I'd much rather do this job than the one we had the other day."

"Readjusting the Gravity Tethers… damn, that was a tough one."

"Well," Denny added, "it was either be Ishimura Journeymen engineers or be stuck in the engine sector all hours of the day chugging aspirin from all that damned hardware."

The men gathered aboard the ten-by-ten elevator and activated the pad making it descend ever so gently down to the mining level. The two of them chatted the whole way down. The men had grown up knowing each other from their days of training in the CEC. Isaac only had a few years on Denny and while Denny used the conventional method to get things done Isaac tended to improvise on the job, only his improvisations usually wound up working better than the actual methods. Work wise, the two of them were a force to be reckoned with on the plantecracker.

Upon the lift's opening men fluttered by garbed in mining suits that looked very similar to their own. The major feature, however, was a mining suit had two slits for the visor, while an engineer's had three. They unloaded themselves from the elevator and were absorbed into the mishmash flanks. The people rushing past weren't only an annoyance to Isaac, but a hindrance to their performance as well. Donny noticed a man waving them over a good distance away.

They approached the higher up who obviously ran this deck's procedures. He welcomed them first with a salute, then a handshake each.

"Gentleman," he began," I can't thank you enough for managing to get down here this quickly. As you can see we're sort of in frenzy over this whole ordeal."

"How'd this happen?" Isaac asked the man.

"You remember that jostling the ship gave about two hours ago? Well, that's the cause."

"What was the cause of the turbulence?" Denny wondered aloud.

The man gave a slight chuckle over the comm. which was much needed to hear over the bustling workers. "You figure that out I'll be real impressed. Anyhoo, we need this job done ASAP and captain Matthius personally recommended you two. I'd follow through with introductions but we just don't have the time, so, if you'll follow me—"

The three of them made their way straight into the massive room that was Mineral Processing. Here a gravitational pulling beam seared from out of one side of the wall and out a hole in the opposite end. Here the beam was consistent, but procedures weren't easy to do unless the gravity was on. Now the gravity paneling was off allowing zero-G capabilities for repair. A group of onlookers gathered as the head of operations gave them the lowdown.

"We got everything from fragments and debris to damaged sections of wall, floor, and the brackets keeping the beam on its way were loosened a bit. That rocking sure gave us hell down here. Whaddya think?"

The two engineers looked at each other, Denny nodding then Isaac turning back to face the head.

"Give us an hour and half," he grunted.

Welker immediately threw a friendly arm over Isaac's armor-clad shoulders, "Give us fifty minutes, guy, my pal here has an appointment to keep."

Isaac rolled his eyes behind his visor as the head let them go to their work. Denny volunteered for repairing the electronic disturbances while Isaac was stuck with removing the debris, a much more difficult and labor inducing task.

"Why am I stuck doing the menial crap?" he asked his partner.

Denny was now floating up and away toward the ceiling thanks to the gravity absent atmosphere, his back to his friend. "You know as well as I do that you're better with the whole Kinesis thing than I am!"

Isaac let him go, the rhetorical question evading him now; he knew the truth after all. A number of years back Welker had had a severe mishap with a similar endeavor. It wound up injuring both him and his partner at the time, a man whose name Isaac couldn't quite bring to memory. After a few moments the man already had a large chunk of rock going out the Ishimura's underside through the beam. The artificial intelligence that served as a means of work communication throughout the planetcracker reflected Clarke's doings as it spoke.

"Looks like we got fans," Welker shouted from the other end of the room.

Clarke peered over to the open door where the crowd had gathered. Undoubtedly, they were the men unable to do their work from the accident. "Very astute," he replied. A crackle reared over his comm. then. The incoming voice was obviously female and since engineering had very little female workers, Isaac guessed roughly three, it was most likely Nicole trying to get in touch with him.

"Isaac…" he heard over the crippling static. "Isaac… there? Everyone's… don't understand! We're holed up… Clinic… help us!" The interference caused by the gravitational beam down there was mindboggling. Regardless, it was easy to tell the woman was locked under great distress. Though he wasn't entirely sure, he was almost certain he heard screams in the background. Isaac patched his link up to Welker's RIG.

"Denny, something's wrong, Nicole was trying to relay me something."

"Awww," the man chimed in a childish tone. "Hope she's not cancelling on you."

"You idiot, I mean it seemed like something bad was going on!"

There was a long pause from Denny's end before he responded. "Look, if you'd like I'll request someone else to fill in for you while you go after your woman and see what's up, though I'm sure you're just full of it…"

"Whatever you say, Den, thanks."

With only a little over half of the debris cleared Isaac deactivated the gravity functions of his heavy, metal boots and lunged for the open door where the workers were still watching. They moved apart as Clarke sifted through them moments later. Some looked angered at his leaving while others showed distinct signs of wonderment.

Isaac tried getting through to Nicole without the beam coming between them. "Nicky, you there? Nicole, if you can hear this, please respond. It's Isaac!"

Sharp twangs of static erupted over the feed again but still the engineer waited plodding sluggishly over the metal flooring of the mining deck halls before the static subsided and clear communication was achieved.

"Isaac," the woman began, "something's going on. People have started storming into the clinic with claims of attacks from fellow employees that had gone insane. But these injuries are too substantial, we can't—there are so many we had to barricade the Clinic—keep them out!" she couldn't go on.

"Nicole, I don't understand. What do you want me to do?"

"Isaac, it's not just people doing these things, there's something else. Something is aboard the ship, Isaac! Fractions of my staff have already disappeared! I just—just need your help right now, I need you!"

Isaac listened helplessly as his lover burst into no withheld tears. It was hard to think somewhere on this vessel, only an estimated mile away this was happening. He shook his head, his gloved hand firmly applied to the side of his helmet before he thought of a solution.

"I'm on my way, baby. We'll see what this old man can do." When she was frightened like this, even in times before, for whatever reason, he started talking to her like a fatherly figure. But it helped; she always calmed enough to gather herself.

A long, slobbering hum of audio seeped out before Nicole's voice came back to his ear. "All right… I'll be waiting for you. I love you, Isaac."

This time the man didn't hesitate, he didn't give a second thought. He simply replied. "I love you too." The link went dead. Isaac instantly started off toward the deck's main lift until he was met by the mining head.

"Where are you going?" he asked him sternly.

Isaac removed his helmet. "Something's going on up top, I don't know what myself, but I'm heading up there to give whatever support I can." He trotted past the man where a firm hand met his shoulder, spinning him back around.

"You have a job to do down here! Get back in Processing!"

Isaac shoved the curled hand from his body. "People are stuck in the Clinic, and in bad shape might I add! I'm going to go see what's going on up there, it seems more important than what's up down here."

"This level is the lifeblood of this ship, engineer! You think there's anything more important than this? Well, there's not! Get back in there!" The man grabbed at Isaac's arm and reeled him back toward Processing. His face, pudgy and blanketed with facial hair, was met with a powerful jab. He staggered back, pain and shock overwhelming his form and he found himself on his rear at the engineer's feet.

"Quite frankly, I don't give a rat's ass about any of this… now I've been requested up at the Clinic and that's where I'm headed. You wanna go and report this to Matthius—go head. As for myself, I put my relationships before my job." With his spiel over he skulked off toward the lift leaving the head of mining behind in a daze.

"That's it," the stuttering man called after. "You'll be hearing from the captain. He's gonna haul your ass out of here!"

Isaac Clarke never bothered to retort or even turn to face him, he just plodded off. "It wouldn't be the first time," he said under his breath. Finally he found the lift, using its hologram display to rise back to the top at the RIG antechamber. He passed only a couple floors when the lift went out coming to a halt on its emergency brakes. The lights, too, had failed.

"Shit…" he whispered. Now was most certainly not the time.

Suddenly, the crimson, deafening alarms of quarantine went off. Inside the chute the sounds were especially amplified. Seconds later the ships' PA system came to life playing a rather baritone voice over it.

"This is the captain, Benjamin Matthius. Due to a sudden, unforeseen problem, I have initiated a ship-wide quarantine to prevent any further incidents. These incidents are under investigation at this time and I ask that you stay where you are until things are cleared. These temporary measurements will be lifted when safety notifications are given. Thank you."

Isaac was aware now—fully aware. Whatever Nicky had reported to him was much more severe than he initially thought. In the mean time this lift wasn't going anywhere, but that wouldn't stop his impatient demeanor. Using his bright visor lighting he found a grate covering a ventilation shaft only feet away from him. It would have to do.

His hefty boot kicked the metal covering in causing some of its rivets to spring out. Then he pulled it aside. I'm on my way, he thought. I'm on my way.

Isaac crawled into the waiting arms of the unknown; hell's waiting for him the likes of which he could never have imagined.